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FSU thumps Duke to win ACC title

Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had plenty of questions to answer during the week leading up to Saturday's ACC Championship Game.

Following the freshman phenom's performance, the only question that remains is who the top-ranked Seminoles will face in the BCS National Championship Game.

Winston threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another score, as No. 1 Florida State rolled to its 14th ACC Championship with a 45-7 rout of 20th- ranked Duke at Bank of America Stadium.

On Thursday, Winston was cleared of allegations he sexually assaulted a woman last year, a distraction that had hung over the quarterback's head since reports of the assault initially surfaced in November.

Left to focus solely on football, Winston thrived, throwing for 330 yards on 19-of-32 efficiency while adding 59 yards on 10 carries to help the Seminoles finish 13-0 for the first time in school history while setting the conference and school records for wins in a season.

"I don't feel it was a burden because actually the football field is our sanctuary," Winston said of the distraction created by the investigation. "Every time I stepped on the field, every time we step on that field, everything outside of us, everything that happened outside of our family is just zoned out."

Winston, the clear-cut favorite to take home this year's Heisman Trophy, was named the ACC Championship Game MVP and set a pair of individual records for his stellar season, with his 38 TD passes and 3,820 passing yards setting FBS freshman records.

Kelvin Benjamin caught five passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while Devonta Freeman rushed for 91 yards and a score on 18 carries for Florida State, which will be playing in the National Championship for the first time since winning it all during the 1999-2000 campaign.

FSU's opponent in Pasadena will be determined during Sunday's BCS Selection Show. No. 2 Ohio State had its undefeated season derailed by Michigan State in the Big Ten title game on Saturday, leaving the door open for the SEC-champion Auburn Tigers to potentially sneak into the national title game.

"It honestly didn't matter to me who it was," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said when asked of the possibility of playing Auburn. "I just wanted to win this game and play. Ohio State has a tremendous program and great history. Auburn does, too. I've coached there, I know them, either one of them, but I'm just glad that Florida State is there."

Anthony Boone struggled under center for the Blue Devils (10-3), completing just half of his 40 passes for 138 yards with two interceptions.

"We're not going to beat a lot of people when we complete 50 percent of our passes," said Duke's David Cutcliffe, who was named the 2013 Walter Camp Coach of the Year on Thursday. "That's not always just the quarterback. In a game like this, any given opportunity to make a play, you'd better make it."

Josh Snead scored late in the fourth quarter to account for the lone touchdown of the game for Duke, which has never beaten Florida State in 19 all-time meetings.

Florida State entered Saturday's title tilt ranked second in the nation in scoring at 53.7 points per game, but thanks in large part to a Freeman fumble inside the Duke 5 on FSU's second touch of the game, the Seminoles were held scoreless in the opening quarter for the first time all season.

Winston finally got his squad on the board early in the second, converting a 3rd-and-8 from the Duke 26 with a 12-yard toss to Nick O'Leary before floating a pass to the left side of the end zone for Benjamin, who hauled in the 14- yard score over two Duke defenders for a 7-0 lead with 12:36 left in the half.

Jamison Crowder returned a punt 40 yards later in the frame to give Duke excellent field position at the FSU 37, but Lamarcus Joyner picked off Boone three plays later to give the Seminoles possession at their own 27.

Freeman extended the ensuing FSU touch with a 3-yard rumble on 3rd-and-1 before following a sack of Winston with a 22-yard catch-and-run into Duke territory.

Winston and Benjamin got together for a 16-yard gain on 3rd-and-5 later in the drive before Karlos Williams capped it with a 12-yard run off the right side that saw him run over a defender at the goal line to make it 14-0 with 3:37 left in the half.

Roberto Aguayo drilled a 45-yard field goal in the final minute of the frame to make it 17-0 in favor of the Seminoles at the break.

FSU created some separation in the third, scoring three touchdowns in a 7:14 span to build a 38-0 lead.

Telvin Smith picked off Boone at the Duke 26 on the Blue Devils' first drive of the second half, and Winston hit Kenny Shaw for an 11-yard score three plays later to extend the FSU lead.

Following a Duke three-and-out, Winston capped a quick 5-play sequence with a 54-yard scoring strike to Benjamin that made it 31-0 with 6:31 left in the third.

Boone fumbled the ball away after being sacked on Duke's next possession, and Winston scrambled for a 17-yard score four plays later for a 38-0 spread.

Freeman added a 7-yard TD run midway through the fourth and Snead scored from five yards out on Duke's ensuing sequence to account for the final margin.

Game Notes

Winston's 3,820 passing yards surpassed Brett Hundley's mark of 3,740 set last year, while his 38 TD passes broke Sam Bradford's record of 36 set in 2007 ... With their 14th conference crown, Florida State tied Clemson for the most conference championships in ACC history ... Duke has never defeated a No. 1- ranked opponent in 12 tries ... Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder caught eight passes for 66 yards, giving him 1,197 receiving yards on the season to set a school record ... FSU outgained Duke, 569-239.

12/08 01:50:14 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
Final
WASH 10
ARST 24
Final
HAW 18
NEV 26
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14